Your kids are probably starting to enjoy a well-deserved break from their studies. But is the long summer off having a detrimental effect on their overall health and wellbeing?
A study has revealed that the summer holidays are potentially detrimental to children’s health. This is largely thanks to kids spending chunks of their summer break sitting “in front of screens” and losing much of the fitness they have gained throughout the school year.
The research by UK Active measured the health of 400 school pupils before and after the summer holidays, and found that their overall health and fitness had decreased significantly. They were only able to run far shorter distances at the end of their summer break, having to frequently stop due to exhaustion.
On average, the results showed that British school children lost around 80 per cent of the fitness they have built up during term time. This is due to time off being spent “lazily”, and options like summer camps and sports clubs being too much of a financial strain for many parents. The deterioration in children from the least well-off 25 per cent of families was 18 times greater that that of children from the most well-off 25 per cent.
UK Active Research Director and leader of the study, Dr Stephen Mann, described the results of the study in greater detail, stating that it “suggests deprived children are being plonked in front of screens for hours on end.”
Dr Mann went on to describe the negative effects prolonged inactivity can have on a child’s health, saying:
“Being inactive as a child sets a dangerous precedent on a number of levels. As well as being linked to impaired physical development, shorter attention span and lower grades, an inactive childhood means that person faces much higher risk of deadly diseases such as heart disease, cancer and Type 2 diabetes in later life.”
These findings affirm fears which have been present for many years, Previous research found that 50 per cent of seven year olds in the UK don’t meet the Chief Medical Officer’s minimum physical activity guidelines of one hour of physical activity a day. Furthermore, a national audit in 2016 found that there were more than 500 million children in the UK with Type 2 diabetes.
What can you do about it?
Although summer camps and sports clubs are a great way to keep your child fit, this may not be a realistic solution for parents who struggle to meet the costs. However, there is plenty you can do with your child yourself to encourage fitness. Take a bit of time every day to do something active, whether it’s a game of football in the garden or an evening stroll around the block. And at least once a week, try to push yourself further with something slightly more demanding, like a Sunday hike or a trip to the local swimming pool.
Diet is another key factor here. Although frozen foods are often the easiest solution, taking the time to prepare healthy homecooked meals for your child can make a significant difference when it comes to their health, fitness and energy levels. You should also try to encourage your children to retain a decent sleeping pattern even when they aren’t at school.
Setting a good example is a big part of encouraging your kids to stay fit. Why not use this summer to improve your own fitness too? If you’re struggling with your weight, safe and effective weight loss medication is available from Express Pharmacy.
For more guidance and information on a variety of health concerns, don’t hesitate to contact Express Pharmacy. Give us a call today on 0208 123 07 03 or speak to us directly using our discreet online Live Chat service.